Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Collection of Wood Fired Pottery

Since packing and preparing for my summer vacation is taking up most of my days, my Homeless Finch projects have been put on the back burner.  As I explained earlier in the week, I wanted to share with you a few of my collections. On Wednesday, I highlighted my collection of finch.  Today, I want to share with you my collection of wood fired pottery. 
Photo Source: Bradford Pottery.

In my blog post yesterday, I spoke about the years I spent with my hands in clay.  During those years, I had several opportunities to wood fire my work.  There are countless ways to fire clay.  I have experienced many of them.  But nothing compares to the magic that happens inside a kiln during a wood firing.  Other than a thermocouple, there is very little modern technology involved.  The firing is done similar to the way ancient man fired pottery.  Consequently, the man hours involved is extensive.  It takes a group effort, working together loading, lighting, monitoring, adding more fuel (wood), stoking the fire and keeping watch overnight as the fire roars. As hard as this sounds, a group firing can be delightful because it brings together other artists in a camp like atmosphere....and yes a few coolers filled with libations. (wink)

There is also a magic that occurs during a wood fire....something that cannot be controlled.  As the ash from the wood blows through the hot kiln, it will attach itself to part of the pottery and creating designs on the surface that cannot be duplicated.  It is because of this experience that I have a serious love for wood fired pieces. I started collecting them several years back one piece at a time.  Here are some of the most special.....

A sample collection sitting on my living room coffee table

A piece that I made a few years back.
It was thrown in pieces, altered and constructed.

A little vase by
Brian Somerville.

Another small piece by
Brian Somerville

Large vase by
Brian Somerville
Of the proceeding pieces from Brian Somerville, two were a birthday gifts from my sister.  She knew that I loved his work and surprised me.  If you remember Brian is the instructor who introduced me to clay.  The first small vase was something he threw in class and stood and carved intuitively as he talked with us.  Nice memory.

The large vase is a great example of how ash from the wood enters the kiln and attaches itself to the ware forming a glaze like coating.  Notice how the left side is blank and didn't get any ash.  Call me crazy, but this vase reminds me how the sun only shines on one side of the earth at a time.  I bought this at a sale at school that is set up each year so students can sell their work.  I don't think Brian liked this vase. But I did.  Brian's current sculptural work is amazing.  If you want to take a peek at his website it's

Little creamer was thrown and altered
by Me.
 I love this little creamer. (above) Not because it was anything close to the best of my work, but because it was made during a time of great exploration for me.  After throwing the piece on the wheel, I took it off and altered it's appearance and added the handle.  I did this without thinking about any critique of the piece.  It was for me and no one else. It was also my first wood fired piece.   During the final critique that semester, it was pulled out and highlighted as noteworthy.  It reminds me how important it is to keep my work mine. 

A Jack Troy Nautilus Cup
The above Nautilus Cup is from an artist who lives in Pennsylvania named Jack Troy.  I picked up this cup when I was at NCECA (annual clay conference) in Pittsburgh a few years back. I paid a pretty penny for this little cup.  A woman made a comment to me in the purchase line that indicated to me that he was some sort of legend or something.   I have never met Jack, but I sure do love his pottery.
"Curly" a tiny pitcher by
Karla Walter

"Curly" Cup by
Karla Walter
The two "Curly" pieces above are by my good friend, Karla Walter.  Karla and I went through the same program in college, only she graduated a year ahead of me.  I always loved her student work and I am glad that a little thing called Facebook has kept us in contact with each other.  She played an integral part in helping me sell my clay studio equipment.  To view her Etsy Shop click here.   

I hope you enjoyed seeing a sneak peek at some of the wood fired pottery in my collection.  I just love the earthy feeling and look. I also love the idea that they were fired by a community of artists working together to create something special. 

-The End-


Deneen said...

I collect pottery too! Not as many as you have though. I have a couple of vases that I love because it has a really awesome texture to it. Not sure what it is called though.
PS "my" pillow is upside down! LOL

Lisa Montsion said...

I love the curly cup.